entrepreneur Diana Rennie decided to pack in her career to follow her passion – designing and creating handbags.
The former French teacher, from Hedge End, was inspired to set up her business – DBR Handbags – following her mother’s death.
Diana always had an interest in fashion, and taught herself pattern cutting and sewing as a teenager in order to duplicate the designer fashions in Vogue or Elle.
But when the time came to apply for university, she admits she lacked the confidence to follow her passion in fashion and instead chose a degree in French and European studies.
After spending a year in Paris through her studies, she says she was captured by the fashion shows, sketches and clothes, but still finished her degree and took up a career teaching French.
The 43-year-old said: ‘A few years ago my mum passed away at a relatively young age, following a short illness.
‘My mum despised me being a teacher and she would’ve loved me to pursue what she called my life’s purpose – fashion design.
‘I couldn’t help but think about life, its purpose, its meaning and reason. Also, after she passed away in 2010, I needed to let a little light into my life. I thought I’d make a handbag – just a couple of hours, a little indulgence to take my mind off things. That one handbag turned into 20 as everyone I knew loved it and wanted one.’
The mum-of-two then came up with the DBR label – a collection of high-quality handbags, with unique limited edition designs. Her website went live in June 2016 and she recently held a photoshoot at Gunwharf Quays to showcase her work,
She said: ‘The response since has been a little overwhelming to say the least.’